VPN encryption technologies or protocols play a crucial part in the security of your online data. There are different options available and while each of them offer the advantages and disadvantages, OpenVPN is a name that always stands out for its reliability and good level of protection. However, a solution released in 2014 appears to challenge OpenVPN’s leading place in terms of security. We are talking about SoftEther, a technology developed as an academic project from the University of Tsukuba in Japan. Like OpenVPN, SoftEther is an open source solution, but its versatility and powerful performance could give it an edge over OpenVPN. To compare these VPN protocols, we’ll focus on their features and what they offer to keep your online privacy secure.
Originally released in 2002 by OpenVPN technologies,Inc, OpenVPN offers strong protection using OpenSSL library and SSLv3/TLSv1 protocols. These are combined with a set of technologies that allow OpenVPN to be considered as a secure protocol. While it offers optimal performance with UDP port, OpenVPN can be configured on almost any port including TCP port 443. Using this port, will make differentiating traffic that goes through OpenVPN from traffic that uses standard HTTPS over SSL (sites using https://) very difficult. This would allow OpenVPN to be practically impossible to block because doing so will severely affect internet.
The OpenSSL library that OpenVPN uses to encrypt traffic offers support for multiple cryptographic algorithms. Some of them are Camellia, 3DES, AES and Blowfish, with the latter two being the most widely used technologies among VPN providers. Although OpenVPN is not a native protocol on any operating system, it works with most platforms, including iOS and Android. In order to set up OpenVPN, you will need to download and install an OpenVPN client.
The open source and free OpenVPN client is one of the options, but its configuration can be difficult and some technical knowledge will be required. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a VPN service that offers a custom OpenVPN client. While this option requires you to pay for a VPN, it is easier to set up and in many cases, you will get useful features like kill switch and DNS leak protection as part of the client.
As previously mentioned, SoftEther was launched in 2014 and it is a project started by Daiyuu Nobori at the University of Tsukuba. SoftEther stands for Software Ethernet and it has come to be recognized as one of the most powerful and reliable VPN technologies available. SoftEther is free and it works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Solaris and FreeBSD. It supports multiple VPN protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec and SSTP. This characteristic allows it to enjoy native support on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, making it easier to set up on these platforms.
SoftEther is also light on system resources and it offers a function that allows you to clone legacy OpenVPN clients. Since SoftEther boasts strong SSL-VPN protocol, it can bypass even the most restrictive firewalls effectively. With SoftEther it is possible to establish remote access and site-to-site VPN easily. It also supports innovative features like VPN over DNS and VPN over ICMP. Data is secured with AES 256-bit and RSA 4096-bit encryption. The protocol is highly stable, fast and its interface supports English, Japanese and Chinese.
OpenVPN and SoftEther comparison
Since SoftEther is a newer technology, it has implemented a different approach that aims not only to offer a high level of security, but also to ensure that users can enjoy extended compatibility. While both technologies are open source, SoftEther was created as part of academic research, instead of by a company, like OpenVPN.
Unlike OpenVPN, which only supports its own protocol, SoftEther works with SSTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP and more. Speed is an area in which a significant difference betwene the two can be found. OpenVPN only manages to reach 100Mbps, but SoftEther is capable of going up to 900Mbps and in some cases, it can even reach higher speeds.
Since OpenVPN has been available for longer, it is supported by more platforms than SoftEther. The latter works with Windows, OS X, Android, iOS, Linux, Solaris and FreeBSD. OpenVPN is supported by all this platforms, as well as by two additional options: QNX and NetBSD.
SoftEther gets ahead in terms of speed and it also offers greater flexibility. However, OpenVPN is a stable, reliable and highly secure option that hasn’t been compromised by the likes of the NSA. Being a new technology, allows SoftEther to offer advanced functionality, but if you prefer to stick to a traditional solution to keep your online data protected, OpenVPN is still a recommended choice.